Many people in Connecticut regard the threat formerly posed by asbestos as virtually non-existent. While the use of asbestos as a construction and insulation material has been significantly reduced over the last 30 years, it still causes a number of workplace illnesses. A recent settlement between the state of Massachusetts and four asbestos removal firms, including one based in Connecticut, provides evidence that asbestos still poses a threat to construction workers, remodelers and persons who live or work in buildings that were originally built using asbestos.

The settlement involves the renovation of a public housing project during the winter and spring of 2015. Four firms were hired by the city of Salem to remove all asbestos from the building during a renovation project. According to the allegations in the complaint filed by the state, the four firms failed to adhere to Massachusetts’ clean air law and regulations. The firms failed to properly contain and store asbestos-containing materials after they were removed from the premises. State investigators allegedly found violations by the general asbestos-removal contractor in every building in the project.

The four firms agreed to pay a total of $340,000 in fines. The general contractor was accused of using improper removal techniques, and a Connecticut firm was accused of failing to use proper monitoring procedures during the project. Several of the firms’ supervisors will be required to attend training sessions about proper removal of asbestos.

Like many workplace illnesses, exposure to asbestos is covered by workers’ compensation laws. A claim for benefits must be filed within three years of a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease. Also, victims of asbestos exposure can sue anyone responsible for damages, including their employers, suppliers, contractors and other parties whose actions contributed to the exposure. Anyone with questions about the legal consequences of asbestos exposure may wish to consult a lawyer who is experienced in handling such claims. A knowledgeable attorney can assist in identifying potential defendants and coordinating the examinations and opinions of medical care providers.

Source: Workers’ Compensation.com, “MA: Four Companies Settle Allegations of Illegal Asbestos Work at Salem Public Housing Facility,” March 27, 2018